Corson County Public Land Buck

The story of my success began in the spring of this year. My dad, and hunting partner, who has 7 years of preference was the one who was supposed to draw an any deer tag between the two of us this year. But shockingly to us both he was unsuccessful and I was the lucky one who would be with the tag this year!

I had only a few opportunities during archery season to get out and hunt/scout for the upcoming season. And very disappointingly so, I was not seeing the deer that I had grown accustomed to seeing over the last several years. it was as if a whole new group of deer had moved in.

Well, before I knew it season had finally come and my dad, brother and I found ourselves walking into the public land to hunt before sunrise. Upon only glassing other hunters and a few deer we decided to cover some ground. The hilly terrain is all about the same in elevation and there are no real high vantage points to glass the entire area from, so we covered alot of ground making sure to glass each area as far as we could as we moved. We did manage to find a respectable 150" class buck bedded on his own, but after some hard thinking I decided to pass on the easy shot as I had my heart set on something bigger. We saw a few more small bucks that day and before we knew it we were headed back to the truck in the dark.

I was able to sneak out another time a few days later, however due to the landowner moving and working cattle I was beginning to wonder if the deer had chosen somewhere else to hang out for a while.

The day I harvested this deer I was hunting solo and it started out rough. I was extremely sore and still fatigued from the past few times out. However, within the first two hours of light I found myself crawling over a hill 200 yds from two bucks and their does bedded down. I really struggled not to harvest this deer as I was only a mile from the truck and everything had just lined up perfect. I sat and watched them for 45 minutes or so, then decided to pass. I covered more land and didn't find many deer. By this time the combination of temperature and 30mph winds felt like tiny needles to my eyeballs which wouldn't quit clouding over and was really affecting my vision. I decided I needed to change up my strategy and head for land I hadn't hunted on in several years. Land that I knew would have more shelter from the wind. 

The afternoon went by real slow and I found myself struggling to stay awake every time I sat and tried to rattle or glass. So tuckered out I started the 2 mile trek back to the truck. As I was walking up to the vehicle I looked down in the massive draw by my truck and about 400yds away something looked out of place. I threw up my binoculars and it was a doe, then another doe, then there he was... One glance at him and I saw all I needed to, he had good fronts and a nice wide and heavy frame, everything past that could wait to be seen till he was on the ground. By this time they were all watching me. I slowly crept back from the truck and out of site, I made my way around the draw a little and belly crawled over the top of the rim till I could get a good shot. I was able to close distance to 283yds. I got setup and took control of my breath, aimed and squeezed the trigger. My .300WSM Tikka T3 rang out followed by the lovely 'whop' of the bullet connecting with its target. Because I was by myself and not wanting to have to find him in the dense draw I racked a second round and fired. Two more steps and he went down.

After putting on nearly 28 miles on foot, passing on a handful of respectable bucks, all on public land, and then finding a trophy buck so close to the truck is a hilarious end to my season. I really wonder how many times those deer have gotten away with all the other hunters just walking right passed them. I suppose the moral of the story is to always keep your eyes open and be attentive because you never know where they might be. He gross scored 184 3/8.

Jeff is the owner and operator of Jeff's Taxidermy in Mobridge SD.

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